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IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #349 – Thoughts on Elimination Chamber
1. I’m only 32, but I also am currently living through a Minnesota winter. The hours in which I work my regular job basically have me almost never seeing the daylight. Also, I’m still recovering from the 100 mile daily each way commute from school, and that has caught up to me since about October. It is very hard to stay up late enough to finish a PPV unless I really want to, like Royal Rumble. That being said, I catch what I missed before I go to work in the morning, so it’s better late than nothing, I suppose.
2. That being said, if the Royal Rumble this year was acknowledging that the crowd was being heard and responding to it accordingly, the Elimination Chamber was the summer of 2014 equivalent to the response from WrestleMania 30, which I’ve noted many times nearly killed my interest in wrestling entirely. Whereas the Rumble kept me engaged, interested, and even reacting, just anticipating the incredibly obvious finish that was telegraphed as well as a Superman Punch couldn’t keep me awake. And why should it?
3. Whereas the Royal Rumble, and its entire weekend, took risks, Elimination Chamber played it so safe that it felt like a John Cena push in 2009. Protect what we want to do at all costs, no matter what, no matter who likes it, this is what we’re going to do. We’re on year four, I’m certain it’ll work this time!
4. What more can I say, really? Reigns/Lesnar has been so obviously telegraphed that in the process, they’ve sacrificed Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, and notable others because they’re so desperate for that moment where it’ll “shock” us that Roman kicks out of the F-5. Braun couldn’t do it, so you know JBLdamn well that Roman’s going to. Roman kicked out of the Tombstone.
5. Apathy. As long as we’re running down the Roman Reigns’ greatest hits album, it cannot be understated enough how much apathy takes the wind out of anything’s sails. This is supposed to be the guy’s second chance at a WrestleMania main event where he beats Brock Lesnar. Nevermind that this is his fourth in a row, but he seems to give as much of a shit about that as I do. “Oh I lost first to my Shield buddy? Shucks.” “Paul Heyman said this? I don’t care.” “Brock Lesnar did this? I don’t care.” “I’m not worried.” ::shrug::
6. I do not think the guy is a bad wrestler. I was a big fan of the Shield reunification and his feud with the Miz, not to mention the promo work with John Cena. But this guy is about to kick out of the F5 at WrestleMania, during his fourth straight main event, and people still aren’t taking it. Should we change that decision? Nope, maybe this time it’ll work.
7. I didn’t review last week’s show. As previously stated, staying up late is getting more difficult for me. But hot damn, that gauntlet match was something that felt new, innovative, and it took risks. Hats off to Crossfit Jesus for a Rumble-like performance. It’s not often the go-home show is worth paying full attention to, but I think this is the first time I can remember that it was actually better than the PPV it preceded.
8. This? This felt phoned in. Not only that, but phoned in from a place that is utterly tone-deaf. They’d rather mute the mics to hide the boos at WrestleMania than consider that the guy they’re trying to make the top star, people aren’t taking it. I cannot remember in my 20-plus years of wrestling fandom someone pushed so hard, so consistently, failing to produce anything near resembling the reaction they want, and still going full-steam ahead.
9. Reigns has now gone over Braun Strowman again, in addition to going over The Undertaker and John Cena in the last year alone. Winning the Rumble didn’t help. The audible called at WrestleMania 31 only seemed to piss them off into making sure their dream match gets to happen against Brock Lesnar. Because if anyone deserves the moment of kicking out of the F5, it’s a guy who’s had 4 years to make people give a shit, and has yet to do so.
10. Yes, there was a “rest of the show” last night. Were any real risks taken? Nope. Did any surprises or swerves happen? Maybe one. This was the RAW last stop before WrestleMania season goes into full swing? That was the best they could do? How many people have a feud looking like it’ll be for WrestleMania? 6? What will the result be? Roman standing in an arena full of boos the next night and eventually saying “I’m the next big thing now.” Yippee?
11. Remember when John Cena putting someone over meant something? WhatCulture pointed it out earlier today, but his frustration and getting desperate seems to hint toward the long-rumored heel turn, which would’ve been great… in like 2011. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s in contrast to Reigns, bring it. I’ve become a much bigger Cena fan in the last few years, and I would love to see him finally let loose fifteen years of frustration. Will it happen? Will Roman start filling those Make a Wish spots? I don’t know. But it’ll be time for a change, so… enough is enough?
12. Ronda Rousey’s contract signing was fun for what it was. Who’s getting the rub of her first in-ring action most likely? A retired GM, a semi-retired NXT executive, and someone who, to my knowledge, hasn’t wrestled a match since 2003. Why make something relevant to wrestling when you can take the attention and put it on yourself?
13. Ronda putting Triple H through the table was a badass moment. And going from that emphatic grin to the angry monster face is charisma half the roster wish they had. But who of course had to put herself front and center with a Daddy impression? Yep.
14. The women’s match seemed less of a culmination of feuds and more of a “we checked this one off the women’s first-whatever thing, if we say it’s historic, do you think people will believe it? We don’t have to actually make it historic, do we? That takes effort.”
15. Most notable in the women’s match was Sasha turning on Bayley, but with Corey Graves going “I told you so!” after all his totally-subtle outbursts, it was expected. Still well-executed, but expected.
16. Alexa Bliss’s turn during her post-match promo was the stuff of legend. That was Mark Henry fake-retirement levels of bait-and-switch.
17. Titus Worldwide faced The Bar… again… and once again in a title match came up short. Okay, so what now? Balor Club? Revival? CFJ and whoever needs something to do? It’s fine, I guess. They had their number in non-title matches but couldn’t get it done with the belts on the line. Probably a rematch tonight, if I know RAW booking.
18. Asuka won, which was also fine, but definitely a great performance from Nia Jax, who was dangerously close to becoming RAW’s Tamina.
19. Bray Wyatt lost to Woken Matt. The rumored Brother Nero return didn’t happen. Matt won. Okay.
20. So, who knows? Maybe it’ll work this year. If not, I’m sure The Rock will come back to put over Roman next year at WrestleMania or something, to the delight of… somebody. Where the Rumble this year had me interested, excited, and full of hope, this show left me feeling like a bad 2016 episode of RAW; barely staying awake, and trying to figure out what I could say about it. Let’s hope the midcard and Smackdown title match of WrestleMania stack up better than last year, I suppose.
HAM OF THE NIGHT
Alexa Bliss, no doubt.
2012- Daniel Bryan
2013- Paul Heyman
2016 – Chris Jericho
2017 – The Miz
1-8-18 – Woken Matt
1-15-18 – Woken Matt
1-22-18 – AJ Styles
1-27-18 – Adam Cole/Corey Graves
1-28-18 – The Hurricane
1-29-18 – Braun Strowman
2-5-18 – The Miz
2-12-18 – Braun Strowman
2-19-18 – Crossfit Jesus
2-25-18 – Alexa Bliss